Will hiring a celebrity designer turn Walmart into a fashion destination, à la Target?
Walmart thinks that collaborating with a big name American fashion designer, whose clients include Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama among others, will help give the chain the fashion cred it’s looking for.
The retailer has reached a deal with Brandon Maxwell to serve as the creative director for its Free Assembly and Scoop “exclusive, elevated fashion” labels. Mr. Maxwell will be responsible for “driving the design” of the seasonal collections of both brands that feature clothing and accessories for men, women and kids. He will also be involved in the marketing campaigns supporting the brands.
Walmart describes Free Assembly as a “modern, fashion essentials” brand and Scoop as “trend-inspired.”
Mr. Maxwell’s work for both brands will first show up in Walmart’s stores and online during the Christmas selling season later this year. His first full collection will hit Walmart’s racks in the Spring of 2022.
Fans of the designer’s work, however, will not have to wait that long. He and the retailer have rolled out a line of face masks with a charitable component. Walmart is donating $100,000 to DonorsChoose.org, a charity selected by Mr. Maxwell, that helps public school teachers get funding for materials to do their jobs better.
The designer, who was born and raised in Longview, TX, called working with Walmart the realization of a personal dream.
“Like many people across the country who live in a small town, Walmart was the destination for everything where I grew up in Texas, including clothing,” he said in a statement.
“Everyone deserves to have access to well-designed clothing at an accessible price point,” said Mr. Maxwell. “I am energized by this collaboration with Walmart, as it is not only an opportunity to make exceptional design accessible to all but, with our charitable initiatives, we will work to help people improve their lives. That is after all the most fashionable thing we can do.”
Walmart leadership’s aspirations to make the chain into an apparel powerhouse known for its designs as well as its low prices is well known.
Denise Incandela, executive vice president for apparel and private brands for the retailer, has been tasked with making Walmart a fashion destination. The retailer has launched Fresh Assembly under her watch and also brought exclusive women’s lines from Ellen DeGeneres and Sofia Vergara to market.
She said Mr. Maxwell is “the ideal partner” and called his work “beautiful, youthful, timeless and expertly tailored.”
- Walmart Enlists American Fashion Designer Brandon Maxwell as Creative Director for Select Elevated Fashion Brands – Walmart
- Will Walmart’s new private clothing line have ‘staying power’? – RetailWire
- Will Walmart become a fashion destination in 2020? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Brandon Maxwell’s designs help turn Walmart into a retail clothing destination worthy of a nickname like its rival, Target? What will elevated sales of clothing mean for Walmart’s business overall?